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An interesting package, not least in putting Rachmaninoffalongside Alexander Kastalsky and Alexander Grechaninov, who were respectively his great role model for church music and, in the latter case, a composer often seen as a kind of missing link (some have suggested dinosaur) with a past age in Russian music. As Craig Hella Johnson has understood, they collectively represent something profound about the tradition that was ripped across by the socialist revolutions of the 20th century and the disasters of the Terror. Kastalsky ended his career as a Soviet propagandist, but his soul beat in time to the heart of Old Russia, and Conspirare’s reading of these pieces is passionate without being perfumed. A lovely recording, in immaculate sound.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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